Former Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon has been charged with nine counts of manslaughter in connection with his alleged role in a water crisis in the town of Flint. Lyon pleaded “not guilty to all charges” through his lawyer during a live hearing Thursday morning before the judge Elizabeth kelly of the 7th Michigan Judicial Circuit Court. The case is being pursued by the Michigan attorney general’s office Dana nessel.
Under Michigan law, manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $ 7,500.
Lyon is also charged with a lower count of willful neglect of public duty under the Michigan Public Health Code. This charge is a felony punishable by one year in prison and a fine of $ 1,000.
A lawyer from Lyon waived a formal reading of the charges and potential sanctions; however, the judge read the indictment in the file.
Similar charges against Lyon, which have been filed previously and were dismissed, have been described as “politically motivated” and “baseless personal attacks”.
Lyonnais told a researcher and professor that “we can’t save everyone, everyone has to die of something” – or “something similar” – according to a preliminary examination by the professor, MLive.com of Advance Publications reported.
During the indictment on Thursday morning, the Lyon lawyer only asked for a personal guarantee. The Lyon attorney said Lyon had lived in Michigan his entire life, minus four years he spent in Connecticut at college. Lyon lived at the same address as Marshall, Mich. for fifteen years, declared his lawyer, and that the presence of Lyon in future legal proceedings was thus ensured.
The defense lawyer continued to praise Lyon’s ties to the state and its lack of derogations in previous criminal and civil litigation regarding the water crisis.
The defense also pointed out that the Michigan attorney general’s office represented Lyon in civil cases related to the dire Flint water situation and was successful in securing Lyon’s dismissal of those cases. Now the attorney general’s office is across the aisle, leading the prosecution to indict and criminalize Lyon.
The attorney general’s office asked for a $ 200,000 cash bond, but agreed that Lyon appeared at all previous civil and criminal proceedings. The prosecutor also asked Lyon to hand over his passport and to have no further contact with other defendants.
The defense said Lyon have the right to defend themselves and should be able to discuss their case with other defendants.
Justice Kelly noted the more serious nature of this case compared to the previous one and accepted the Attorney General’s office request for $ 200,000 bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m.
A press conference is scheduled for later Thursday morning from the attorney general’s office to discuss the case.
Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was also indicted Thursday on two counts of willful misconduct. His personal bond has been set at $ 10,000 and he is not allowed to leave the state while the case is going through the system. Its next hearing is set for January 19.
Flint officials, acting during a financial crisis, decided to use water Flint River to serve the city’s water system while a pipeline was under construction to bring cleaner water to the city from Lake Huron. The water released the lead from the plumbing systems and also led to at least 90 cases of Legionnaires’ disease. At least twelve people died.
[image via screen capture from Michigan’s 7th Judicial Circuit/YouTube]
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